Athens Regional
Eat Healthy



Food Journaling Day after day, it's hard to stay motivated. But experts recommend that you record your daily meals in a food journal. It can really help you to make a difference in what you choose to eat throughout the day. Click here for WebMd’s printable food journal.

Diet Recommendations. What Diet Will Work For You?

Now that you’ve made the commitment to lose weight and get healthier, you’re probably wondering what diet to follow? Nutritionists recommend choosing from following healthy and sensible diets:

French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet is a four-phased plan that focuses on high-quality food in small portions, mindful eating, proper breathing, good posture, and regular exercise. There are no forbidden foods on this program, so it’s perfect for those who like variety. However, because of its simple and self-directed design, this approach may not be the right choice for someone with a lot of weight to lose. 

The Glycemic Index Diet was originally designed to help people with diabetes control blood sugar levels. Focusing on the limitation of carbs, this diet scores food items on a scale of 0-100 based on how much they raise your blood sugar level. Though there’s no calorie-counting with this plan, rating food while balancing other nutritional information can be a bit confusing.

Volumetrics focuses on foods that are less energy-dense. To help promote a sense of fullness, menu items are large in volume, but low in calories. Volumetrics encourages eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and nonfat dairy.

The Mayo Clinic Diet A lifelong weight-loss and lifestyle program that was designed by Mayo Clinic health experts. Built around the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, this nutritional approach helps combine smarter eating choices with daily exercise.  

The Mediterranean Diet is designed around delicious foods that have stood the test of time and nourished generations. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and lean meats form the foundation of this program and healthy eating lifestyle. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet also supports joint health.

The Paleo Diet is designed around the idea that people tend to be healthier when we eat what we were genetically meant to eat. Also called the “Caveman Diet,” this simple program is essentially a high-fiber, high-protein eating plan that promises weight loss and better health without huge calorie reductions.  .

Weight Watchers
A tried and true weight-loss program that has been around for many years. Many people find its “points” system easy to follow and this program teaches good portion-control habits that can help you maintain your weight-loss. Its meetings-based system harnesses the power of group support and keeping up with times has added an online version. Weight Watcher’s meal plans, sensible eating, weight-loss pace has earned it praise from many experts.

Dr. Oz recommended 7-Day DASH Diet Meal Plan is a safe and simple to follow eat plan that was originally developed to fight high blood pressure. For three years in a row, the 7-Day DASH Meal Plan has been voted best overall diet by leading health experts.

The Biggest Loser Diet is based on the popular TV show and gets high marks for nutrition and safety. The program encourages eating regular meals that include filling calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Increased activity and food journaling are also key parts of this diet plan. 

Vegetarian Diet. Though there are different forms of vegetarianism, the most common type is ‘lacto-ovo’, which allows followers to go meatless while still eating dairy products and eggs for added protein. Research shows that vegetarians tend to consume fewer calories and have a lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol levels.

The Solution starts by helping people determine why they’re overeating. Created by Laurel Mellin, The Solution is designed for people of all ages and targets five root causes of weight problems: unbalanced eating, low energy, body shame, setting ineffective limits, and challenges with self-nurturing skills. The program encourages a healthy nutritional balance which includes grains, proteins, milk foods and fruit and vegetables.

The Spectrum was developed by Dr. Dean Ornish in the 1990s as a way to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Originally criticized for its rigidity and difficulty to follow, more recent versions of the diet take a kinder and gentler approach to wellness and weight loss. The holistic program incorporates four separate paths to health: nutrition, exercise, stress management, and personal relationships.

Flexitarian Diet or “flexible vegetarian” diet is built around the premise that dieters who go meatless a majority of the time will lose weight. Though no foods are off-limits, the goal is to add more plant-based foods, reduce meat consumption, and keep calories in check. Moderate exercise is also a component of this plan and dieters are encouraged to be active for 30 minutes per day for good health.

Traditional Asian Diet focuses on healthy foods that keep hunger at bay. Whole grains, rice, vegetables, and bean products are the center of most associated meal plans on this program. The traditional Asian diet tends to be low in saturated fat and high in fiber and is considered heart-healthy, cholesterol-reducing, and beneficial to those with high blood pressure.

French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet is a four-phased diet plan that focuses on high-quality food in small portions, mindful eating, proper breathing, good posture, and regular exercise. There are no forbidden foods on this plan, so it’s perfect for those who need variety in their diet. However, because of its simple and self-directed approach, it may not be the right choice for someone with a lot of weight to lose.

The Best Life Diet is a three-phased approach to weight-loss that’s designed around nutritional eating, reasonable portions, and increased physical activity. The pace can be self-directed and customized to fit different lifestyles. The plan is supplemented by weekly menus, recipes, and online message-board support groups.

The Step Diet is built around the fitness philosophy that 10,000 steps per day is the path to health, wellness, and weight-loss. Free of rigid regimens, followers of the plan are encouraged to simply cut their current food intake by 25 percent, while steadily increasing physical activity.

Volumetrics focuses on foods that are less energy-dense. To help promote a sense of fullness, menu items are large in volume, but low in calories. Volumetrics encourages eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and nonfat dairy.

Jenny Craig is a popular program that offers personalized nutrition and exercise plans combined with one-on-one counseling. Meal plans range between 1,200 – 2, 300 calories per day and are based on the dieter’s motivation, goals, current weight, and fitness habits.

The Nutrisystem Diet

A popular program that’s designed to simplify weight loss. By buying prepackaged foods directly from Nutrisystem, dieters don’t have to spend time counting calories, watching carbs, or worrying about portion sizes.

The EatingWell Diet

EatingWell's 7-Day Weight-Loss Diet Meal Plan is designed to provide an overall healthy-eating program at five different daily caloric levels: 1,200, 1,400, 1,600, 1,800 and 2,000.

You: On a Diet

Dr Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Roizen's site: offers menu plans and exercise recommendations. You can customize your own menu plan, print shopping lists and it’s all free.

The Sonoma Diet

This diet is based on delicious recipes using staples of Mediterranean eating: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and nuts. The diet starts with a strident 10-day phase called "Wave One," which is calorie-restrictive but is supposed to help you lose your craving for eating sugar and highly processed foods. The diet does contain creative recipes and menus.

This site offers a free four-stage diet program which uses tools, content, and support to help users make lifestyle changes. Users are prompted to enter height, weight, and amount they intend to exercise, as well as a target date and weight. The site then gives recommendations for calorie, fat, and carbohydrate intake based on calculated BMR, as well as a personalized fitness plan.


Reduce Stress, Get your ZZZZ's and Lose Weight

A Kaiser Permanente study finds people who slept 6-8 hours a night and reported lower stress levels lost more weight...

It has always been believed that if you lowered stress and got adequate sleep, you would have a better chance at losing weight, but now a definitive study had been done with Kaiser Permanente's study of 500 people in the Northwest. Their study set to measure whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing and computer screen time were correlated with weight loss.

Conclusions from part of the study: "This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress," said lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH. He goes on to say, "Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful."

So now that it has been confirmed by the Kaiser Permenente study that reducing stress, getting 6 - 8 hours of sleep and exercising can help you lose weight, how can you implement these guidelines into your daily routine, especially with Holidays (a stressful time) right around the corner?

So now that it has been confirmed by the Kaiser Permenente study that reducing stress, getting 6 - 8 hours of sleep and exercising can help you lose weight, how can you implement these guidelines into your daily routine, especially with Holidays (a stressful time) right around the corner?

Simple Ways to Relax and De-Stress

Go for a walk and spend time in nature. Call a friend or sweat out the stress with a good workout. Play with your pet or work in your garden. Curl up with a good book or watch a funny movie and of course a massage would probably do the trick as well!

How to sleep better? 

Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, will make you more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Try not to break your sleep routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep in the next morning.

One way to know if you're getting enough sleep; you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. And another suggestion; keep napping to a minimum,  If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.

More sleeping tips:

Turn off your television and computer and when you're falling asleep and make sure your room is dark. Sleeping well can lead to better health and better weight loss.

Click here for WebMd’s Food & Fitness Journal, by logging your food and exercise daily, you can stay on top of how many calories you’ve consumed as well as how many you’ve burned.

Click here for this handy WebMd portion-size guide that you can take with you.

Lighten Up Georgia Weight Loss Secret

It’s Mother Nature’s secret too. The secret help to dieters is fiber. In fact, experts urge people who want to lose weight and stay healthy to eat lots of fiber.
Here are some fiber-rich recipes.

White Bean Soup with Peppers and Bacon
All American Chili
Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins and Pistachios
Chunky Vegetarian Chili
Red Lentil Mulligatawny with Apple-Celery Salsa

What is the “Magic” To Losing Weight?

Evidently, the magic is what we've known all along; eating healthier, counting calories and boosting your metabolism by exercising. Sorry, but there is no magic pill; watching your calorie intake, increasing your activities, equals slow and steady weight-loss. 

Here are some of the "magic" tips that experts recommend:

  • Exercise each and every day. Make exercise a part of your day. It increases metabolism and burns calories.
  • Eat more fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and will fill you up and keep you full longer.
  • Drink more water or no-calorie drinks. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger which means we can eat when it's not necessary. By keeping yourself well hydrated you won't feel as hungry.
  • Record what you eat. Write down everything that you eat to help you manage your daily calorie intake. You'll be more aware of what you eat.
  • Sit down and eat your meals. If you eat on the run, grab and go, you may not realize what you are consuming. Stop, plan your meals, sit and enjoy every bite. 

Here are some additional weight loss tips from Dr. Oz:

  • Automate your eating by planning your meals ahead of time. That way you're less likely to make an unhealthy last-minute food choice.
  • Oats are your friends! Eating a cup of oatmeal in the morning will prevent you from gorging in the afternoon.
  • Foods with healthy fats such as olives, salmon and walnuts help you feel satisfied.
  • Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories.
  • Got nuts with nuts. Eating a handful of nuts will help you stay full. Try soaking them in water for a different texture.
  • Use meditation to help you cope with chronic stress, which can lead you to crave feel-good carbs.
  • You may be used to fried foods but there are other, sometimes healthier, ways to cook including: roasting, steaming, poaching, baking, braising and broiling.
  • Do your grocery shopping with a list and a time limit; that way, you're less likely to stray into the processed foods section.
  • When out at a restaurant, ask your servers to hold the bread, snack mix or chips and salsa that might come before the meal. If you're hungry, you'll be tempted.

Athens Regional health Services

Recipes for Healthy Eating
from Athens Regional Health Services

Lighten Up Meal of the Week

healthy immune
Healthy Recipes for an
Immunity-Boosting Diet


Practical Eating Tips On the Road How can you make a healthy meal that can easily be transported? Especially for those who are on the road all day, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet and not rely on fast food meals. Lighten Up Georgia has assembled a Pinterest board dedicated to "healthy sandwich wraps" like Cajun Catfish Wraps with Slaw, Herb-Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Wrap and Grilled Chicken Wraps. Click here to find these great wraps that you can store in a cooler and enjoy on the road!

What is the Mediterranean Diet?note
The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle change that places an emphasis on:

  • Eating an abundance of food from plant-based sources (10 servings a day)
  • Eating only locally grown, minimally processed foods
  • Using olive oil as the principle fat in the diet (replace butter and cooking oils with it)
  • Total fat consumption of less than 25-35 percent of the diet, with saturated fat no higher than 7 to 8 percent
  • Low consumption of cheese and yogurt
  • Twice a week, consumption of fish or poultry
  • Up to seven eggs a week (in cooking or baking)
  • Fresh fruit as a daily dessert
  • Red meat only a few times per month
  • Regular physical activity
  • One glass a day of red wine
  • The use of herbs and spices for flavoring rather than salts

New Tools to Keep You on Track!
girl with smartphone

To be successful losing weight you need to make sure that you are eating the correct amount of calories and getting the right amount exercise each and every day. Knowing the calorie count for everything you eat, remembering to record each bite that you consume and recording your activity minutes isn’t always easy.  But, there’s hope with new weight-loss tools created for your smart phone. Best of all, these apps are all free downloads and available on most popular smart phone platforms. “Here’s a list of the best apps for exercise, healthy eating and keeping track that that Jennifer Cohen, (Jan. 2013) put together. Apps that track your calories, your exercise minutes, weight-loss and more.

Lose it! This free app lets you look up food to track calories AND track your exercise in the same app. Just input your current weight and your goal weight, and Lose it! will give you a fairly accurate estimate of how many calories to eat per day, and how long it should take to reach that goal...You can also scan the barcodes of almost any item and automatically pull calorie and nutritional info from a huge online database, which really helps when you’re grabbing a pre-packed lunch on the go and still want to stay within your daily budgets. A must-have app! Free: Apple, Android.

Fooducate Fooducate helps you spot tricky non-health foods quickly by cutting your research time in half. Simply scan the barcode and Fooducate will give you a rating for the food scanned based on calorie counts per serving, processing techniques and amount of excess sugar. If you want to save time and choose health, go grocery shopping with Fooducate.
Free: Apple, Android

Locavore To get the maximum amount of nutrients from food I always recommend eating fresh foods over packaged or processed. Timing is important as well; one study even showed that spinach harvested in-season had three times the Vitamin C as when it was harvested out of season! The basic rule is the farther it is from the vine, the less nutrients it has. Locavore tells you what’s in season and how many days you have left to enjoy it at its full flavor. It can also use your phone’s GPS to find the closest places to buy locally grown, in-season produce.
Free: Apple, Android

Nike Training Club Nike lives up to their “Just Do It” mantra- this app is a free personal trainer in your pocket. It has 30-45 minute timed workouts for cardio, toning and strength, videos for each move and a voiceover talking you though the workout, AND it pulls music from your own playlists to keep you motivated. Just choose a workout based on the time you have and the results you want,
and press play. The step-by-step videos and integration with your own music library make this a fantastic workout app.
Free: Apple

Endomondo Who couldn’t use a little extra motivation? If you’re a runner, biker or walker, this app will track your route via Google Maps, tracking your workout history to compare later. You can also create an account and get motivated by your friends every time you break a mile. You can even upgrade the app to work with special Polar heart rate monitors (my favorite!)
Free: Apple, Android, Blackberry

My Fitness Pal From start-up, My Fitness Pal takes your weight, height, goal weight and lifestyle into account before giving its recommendations. Right away it breaks up your big goal into a smaller goal 1 month away from now, which is a fantastic motivator. You can also access calorie counts and nutritional information from local restaurants, taking the guesswork out of eating out. You can also access your calorie count online from any computer, and get some extra encouragement by sharing your progress with friends.
Free: Apple, Android

Eat This, Not That! The Game While I can’t condone picking one less-bad fast food over another (chili dogs over cheeseburgers? Really?), the knowledge you get from this little game may help you in your next “hot zone” situation, where there are no good choices. If you’re going to play a game on your commute or while you’re on hold on a conference call you can pick up a few quick facts.
Free: Apple, Android

Can Meal Plans Help You Eat Healthier?
They sure can. By planning ahead and using pre-designed meal plans, you will know you are getting the right nutrition
and calories and planning ahead gives you a better chance of maintaining a healthy weight.

Before you meet your friend for lunch, it’s good to know how many calories or points you can eat based on what
you’ve eaten for breakfast and what you plan on eating for dinner.

Here are some sample healthy meal plans below.
Weight Watcher Healthy Menus
Your Daily Meal Planner from Meals Matter
WebMD’s Healthy Weight Loss Meal Plans
Seven Day Meal Plan #1 with Weight Watcher Points
Seven Day meal Plan #2 with Weight Watcher Points
Quick and Healthy Menus from Cooking Light
Quick-Fix Lunches from Weight Watchers


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